Anybody out there who wants to live a blessed life? I see a LOT of hands going up! But seriously, who wouldn’t want to live “blessed”? But ask the question, are you willing to do what you need to do, and live how you need to live in order to get it, and there might be a lot less takers for the offer.
A few weeks ago we kicked off a study of the Beatitudes with teacher and author of the book, “Broken Yet Blessed” Kathi McCarty—and as she told us then, the purpose of Jesus’ entire Sermon on the Mount which began with the Beatitudes, is to teach us “how to live a life that is dedicated and pleasing to God, fully blessed because it is free from hypocrisy, full of love, grace, wisdom and discernment.” Today Kathi is back to help us explore the first Beatitude…
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
Table Talk Notes
The ultimate offense
- Poor – Gr: ptochos: wretched, impoverished, a vagrant, powerless, no prestige or influence to defend himself against the assaults of the world; always used in a bad sense. In today’s vernacular, the scum of the earth, until ennobled by Jesus.
- Jesus spoke in Aramaic: He used a word to describe the humble faithful man who may have no help on earth, but whose perfect trust has wholly committed himself to God
- The implication: It is better to be humiliated with God than prosperous with the world.
Three basic truths…
1. The first necessity towards the attainment of fullness of life is a sense of need…knowing you have nothing to offer God.
Is 61:1-4 – The world sees me as a prophet, but before a Sovereign God, I am nothing. The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn; to grant to those who mourn in Zion—to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit; that they may be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he may be glorified. They shall build up the ancient ruins; they shall raise up the former devastations; they shall repair the ruined cities, the devastations of many generations.
2. It gives a complete re-evaluation of what constitutes wealth and prosperity.
Matt 6:33 | “Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all other things will be added to you”
3. The way to independence lies through dependence, and the way to freedom lies through surrender.
Gal 2:20 | “I no longer live…” I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
A sense of need…The way to power lies in a realization of helplessness. We are unable to help ourselves. Click To TweetCome close to God and you will see who you really are, a sinner saved only by great grace. Click To TweetThe way to victory lies in admission of defeat. Click To TweetThe way to goodness lies in confessing sin. Click To Tweet
John 15:5 | Apart from Christ, we are nothing; we can do nothing of eternal value. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.
1 John 1:9 | There is no pride in the one who is poor in spirit. He is humble of heart. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
A sense of wealth…
- “…theirs IS the kingdom of God.”
- All of the other beatitudes speak of future blessing, but this one speaks to a taste of heaven now; He dwells with us now. His blessings are for now. Our eternal perspective begins now.
Romans 14:17 | “…the Kingdom of God is not eating & drinking, but righteousness, peace & joy in the Holy Spirit (joy=Gr chara, a calm delight)
Matt 7:21 | we enter the Kingdom of God by doing the will of the Father: “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.”
Matt 6:10 | the Kingdom and the will of God are inextricably linked. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
Four impacts on the poor in spirit
1. The poor in spirit give up the idea that “God owes me.”
God has no duty toward us; we have duty to Him.
Luke 17:7-10 | “Will any one of you who has a servant plowing or keeping sheep say to him when he has come in from the field, ‘Come at once and recline at table’? Will he not rather say to him, ‘Prepare supper for me, and dress properly and serve me while I eat and drink, and afterward you will eat and drink’? Does he thank the servant because he did what was commanded? So you also, when you have done all that you were commanded, say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done what was our duty.’”
2. The poor in spirit are not afraid to ask for mercy for themselves and others.
They have an active prayer life/intercession is second nature to them.
Luke 18:9-14 | He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and treated others with contempt: “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’ But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”
3. The poor in spirit are in a position to receive.
There is no “Look what I’ve done Lord” or “Look what I’m bringing You.”
“You can’t receive gold if your hand is full of pebbles” ~Thos Watson~
Rock of Ages hymn: “Nothing in my hands I bring; simply to your cross I cling”
Everything we need to experience the kingdom of heaven is found at the cross of Calvary obtained thru the shed blood of Jesus.
4. The poor in spirit will boast only in the cross.
Gal 6:14 | But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.
“I will not boast in anything; no gifts or power or wisdom. But I will boast in Jesus Christ; His death & resurrection. Why should I gain from His reward? I cannot given an answer. But this I know with all my heart, His wounds have paid my ransom.” ~Stuart Townend – How Deep the Father’s Love
People far from God make much of themselves, but those who live near to God make much of Jesus Christ.
Isaiah 6:5-8 | When Isaiah is exposed to the glory of God, he cries out “Woe is me….I am as a dead man.” An exemplary reflection of pure of heart. And I said: “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!”
But after being cleansed by a coal from the altar (the altar for us is the cross), he then says the greatest thing in anticipation of what? The Cross! Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a burning coal that he had taken with tongs from the altar. And he touched my mouth and said: “Behold, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away, and your sin atoned for.” And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Then I said, “Here I am! Send me.”
THAT is inheriting the kingdom of heaven – an awareness of who we are, what we are called to, and to Whom we are indebted for all we are and all we have and anything we accomplish for eternal purposes.
Questions to ask ourselves
Am I willing to allow the Holy Spirit to reveal my heart and whether or not it needs to be purified by the refining fires?
Are you experiencing the kingdom of heaven in your everyday life so that others might see and experience God’s goodness and love through you?
Ps 51:10 | “Create in me a pure heart, O God; and renew a steadfast spirit in me.”
i.e. – let me be like You in all my ways because you have made my heart like Yours.